CNHI Statehouse Reporter
INDIANAPOLIS – Nearly one year after the first COVID-19 case was identified in Indiana, more than one-third of the state’s population qualifies for the COVID-19 vaccine.
“March will be a key month for most around the country but certainly for the state of Indiana,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday.
The Indiana Department of Health website listing Indiana’s COVID-19 vaccination sites with links and information to register to receive a vaccine.
Saturday marks one year since the first identified COVID-19 case in Indiana and March 16 marks the first reported death. Since then, more than 663,000 Hoosiers have contracted the disease and 12,200 have died.
In recent weeks, cases and hospitalizations have decreased to summertime levels and positive test rates dropped to 3.5%.
“Pandemics are hard to defeat. Viruses mutate and present many challenges just when we think the worst is behind us,” Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner, said. “Even positive trends like those that we have seen in recent weeks don’t signal that we’re out of the woods.”
The state opened vaccine eligibility for those ages 50 and older just minutes before the governor’s weekly press conference, meaning 35% of Hoosiers can now register for the vaccine.
“These expansions are possible because of the incremental increases we have seen in our Pfizer and Moderna allocations as well as the arrival of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” said Dr. Lindsay Weaver, chief medical officer for the Indiana State Department of Health.
Though the vaccines differ in their efficacy rates for mild or moderate cases, Weaver emphasized that all are effective at preventing deaths and hospitalizations.
“Our recommendation to Hoosiers is to get whatever vaccine is available as soon as you are eligible to get it,” Weaver said. “We’re in a race between the vaccine and (COVID-19) variants and we want the vaccine to win.”
This article was made available for posting through Hoosier State Press Association.